Day 5 presents the first single session of darts since Andy Boulton kicked off Christmas’ wildest party on December the 17th. Despite the lack of action as we near the end of first round action at the Ally Pally, some big names will grace the stage.
Premier League contenders have dropped like flies in the past few days, both Ian White and Kim Huybrechts would have fancied their chances of a Premier spot for 2016. The door is now a jar for a new name to step into the limelight and I feel two of the contenders could be showcasing their skills on Monday evening. This years breakthrough star Michael Smith faces Jeffrey De Zwaan, who is said to be the follow up to Michael Van Gerwen. For a man of just 19 years of age De Zwaan has experience a plenty, European Championship and UK Open appearances in 2015. I expect Smiths ferocious scoring to be too much for the Black Cobra, but the Dutch youngster could be one to watch in years to come.
A World Grand Prix win for Robert Thornton squeeze the Scot into a 2016 Premier League spot. ‘The Thorn’ finished 5th in 2013’s edition of Darts biggest and best round robin tournament but has been out of view in the last two years. The 2012 UK Open champion will demand a good performance if he is to progress, especially against Alan Norris. The former Lakeside finalist has made huge steps on the Pro Tour this year and will now look towards a top 32 space, and the major qualification that so often goes with the territory.
In the final match of the evening James Wade will face the winner of the evenings earlier preliminary contest. Despite reaching the final four in his illustrious career, ‘The Machine’ has never attained a final two finish. Many have tipped 32-year-old for a much improved tournament on last years second round exit to Stephen Bunting, although Wade has failed to lift a major trophy this term, which could prove a stumbling block in his chances.